Marling and Batmanglij don’t shy from spotlighting the capitalist practice of hoisting profit margins above ethics, but The East isn’t just an issues pic. It starts like a murky fairy tale, with Sarah accepting transformation – “Drink this,” she’s told, Alice-style – in an off-the-grid forest setting that brings out the stylist in Batmanglij.
And it’s a killer thriller, a point rammed home when the gang conduct a lethal “jam” (targeted protest) at a big pharma party, where Batmanglij’s multi-level direction brings nail-biting tension to a slickly executed personal vendetta.
Another Brit hit, plus Batmanglij is beginning to show dash as director. The duo make a tight fist of hot topicality and high tension from an ideas-packed genre piece.